Monday, November 30, 2009

Beautiful Creatures book trailer

Because I simply loved this book (see review below) I wanted to share this stunning book trailer, which really seems to capture the mood of the book.

And in honor of World AIDS Day tomorrow I'll post an interview with the lovely Courtney Sheinmel, talking about her writing and her newest book Positively.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

In My Mailbox

As ever, thanks go to the very creative Kristi aka Story Siren and Alea of Pop Culture Junkie, the blogs where this meme started, here are the books I acquired this week. And again, such good books!

The Reckoning by Kelley Armstrong
I am such a fan of this series and have been waiting and waiting for a copy of this book so no guesses which book I read first this week. I started it almost the second I was given it. I needed to know how this series ended! (Hint: it was worth the wait!)

From the back: Only two weeks ago, life was all too predictable. But that was before I saw my first ghost. Now along with my supernatural friends Tori, Derek, and Simon, I'm on the run from the Edison Group, which genetically altered us as part of their sinister experiment. We're hiding in a safe house that might not be as safe as it seems. We'll be gone soon anyway, back to rescue those we'd left behind and take out the Edison Group . . . or so we hope.

Hearts at Stake by Alexandra Harvey

From the back: On Solange’s 16th birthday, she is going to wake up dead. As if that’s not bad enough, she also has to outwit her seven overprotective older brothers, avoid the politics involved with being the only daughter born to an ancient vampire dynasty, and elude Kieran Black — agent of an anti-vampire league who is searching for his father’s killer and is intent on staking Solange and her entire family.

Luckily she has her own secret weapon — her human best friend Lucy — who is willing to defend Solange’s right to a normal life, whether she’s being smothered by her well-intentioned brothers or abducted by a power-hungry queen. Two unlikely alliances are formed in a race to save Solange’s eternal life — Lucy and Solange’s brother Nicholas, and Solange and Kieran Black — in a dual romance that is guaranteed to jump start any romance-lover’s heart.

I Kissed a Zombie and I Liked It by Adam Selzer

Adam Selzer's books arehit and miss for me. I really enjoyed How to Get Suspended and Influence People but didn't like Pirates of the Retail Wasteland at all. But a good satire is hard to find and this really looks fun.

From the back: Algonquin “Ali” Rhodes, the high school newspaper’s music critic, meets an intriguing singer, Doug, while reviewing a gig. He’s a weird-looking guy — goth, but he seems sincere about it, like maybe he was into it back before it was cool. She introduces herself after the set, asking if he lives in Cornersville, and he replies, in his slow, quiet murmur, “Well, I don’t really live there, exactly... ”

When Ali and Doug start dating, Ali is falling so hard she doesn’t notice a few odd signs: he never changes clothes, his head is a funny shape, and he says practically nothing out loud. Finally Marie, the school paper’s fashion editor, points out the obvious: Doug isn’t just a really sincere goth. He’s a zombie. Horrified that her feelings could have allowed her to overlook such a flaw, Ali breaks up with Doug, but learns that zombies are awfully hard to get rid of — at the same time she learns that vampires, a group as tightly-knit as the mafia, don’t think much of music critics who make fun of vampires in reviews...

Winter's End by Jean-Claude Mourlevat

This book came very highly recommended and it looks as good as its hype.

From the back: Escape. Milena, Bartolomeo, Helen, and Milos have left their prison-like boarding schools far behind, but their futures remain in peril. Fleeing across icy mountains from a terrifying pack of dog-men sent to hunt them down, they are determined to take up the fight against the despotic government that murdered their parents years before. Only three will make it safely to the secret headquarters of the resistance movement. The fourth is captured and forced to participate in a barbaric game for the amusement of the masses — further proof of the government’s horrible brutality. Will the power of one voice be enough to rouse a people against a generation of cruelty?

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl - Review

Ethan can’t wait to finish high school and move out the small Southern town of Gatlin, where he grew up, where nothing ever changes. But the new school year brings a new face to his high school – a face he has seen over and over again in his ever-more agitating dreams. Lena - beautiful, unusual, unnerving – will never fit in, especially as she’s the niece of the town’s infamous recluse, Macon Ravenswood. Ethan can’t help but be drawn to Lena and is soon drawn into a drama that has been going on for generations.

It’s a lush, extravagant, vivid gothic drama, full of magic, mystery, and mayhem, played out in southern plantations, crumbling graveyards, and overlooked sprawling gardens. I tumbled headlong into this all-consuming, unusual plot and simply got lost - fell in love – am still thinking about cursed lockets, hidden secrets, powers unleashed, and even a little voodoo. Absolutely one of my favorites this year.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday

This idea was taken from Breaking the Spine (thanks) and is such a great idea because it's the place we can talk about the books we really, really want - now. And this one calls to me. I loved her her first two books (Life As We Knew It and The Dead and the Gone) - couldn't read them fast enough - so this week I am waiting and waiting and waiting for

This World We Live In by Susan Beth Pfeffer

It's been a year since a meteor collided with the moon, catastrophically altering the earth’s climate. For Miranda Evans life as she knew it no longer exists. Her friends and neighbors are dead, the landscape is frozen, and food is increasingly scarce.

The struggle to survive intensifies when Miranda’s father and stepmother arrive with a baby and three strangers in tow. One of the newcomers is Alex Morales, and as Miranda’s complicated feelings for him turn to love, his plans for his future thwart their relationship. Then a devastating tornado hits the town of Howell, and Miranda makes a decision that will change their lives forever.

I cannot wait.

What are you waiting for?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along. Just do the following:

-Grab your current read.

-Open to a random page.

-Share two “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page.

-BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others.)

-Share the title & author, too, so that other participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

This week I'm reading Jekel Loves Hyde by Beth Fantaskey.

And here's my teaser:

I read the words again, not trusting my eyes. Discernable change.

Was`it possible that Jill's father really had told the truth? Was there a chance that I held the actual roots of my twisted family tree in my hands?

..."Um, Tristen?" she ventured, sounding almost frightened. "Why really do you want to do the experiment?"
(arc, p. 65)

Monday, November 23, 2009

In My Mailbox

Again with thanks to the very creative Kristi aka Story Siren and Alea of Pop Culture Junkie, the blogs where this meme started, here are the books I acquired this week. And what a week - such good books I don't know where to start.

Jekel Loves Hyde by Beth Fantasky

Jill Jekel has always obeyed her parents’ rules – especially the one about never opening the mysterious, old box in her father’s office. But when her dad is murdered, and her college savings disappear, she's tempted to peek inside, as the contents might be key to a lucrative chemistry scholarship.

To better her odds, Jill enlists the help of Tristen Hyde, who has his own dark secrets locked away. As the team of Jekel and Hyde, they recreate experiments based on the classic novel, hoping not only to win a prize, but to save Tristen’s sanity. Maybe his life. But Jill’s accidental taste of a formula unleashes her darkest nature and compels her to risk everything – even Tristen’s love – just for the thrill of being… bad.

I loved, really loved, Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side so was absolutely delighted when Beth sent this to me (and yes, I admit it, I've already finished it! Review soon.)

Captivate by Carrie Jones

Another one I was clutching to my chest when I got hold of it. I loved Need so can't wait to start this. (And I love the cover!)

Zara and her friends knew they hadn't solved the pixie problem for good. Far from it. The king's needs grow deeper every day he's stuck in captivity, while his control over his people gets weaker. It's made him vulnerable. And now there's a new king in town.

A turf war is imminent, since the new pixie king, Astley, is moving in quickly. Nick nearly killed him in the woods on day one, but Zara came to his rescue. Astley swears that he and Zara are destined to be together, that he's one of the good guys. Nick isn't buying it, though Zara isn't as sure -- despite herself, she wants to trust the new king. But it's a lot more than her relationship with Nick that is at stake. It's her life -- and his.

Firespell by Chloe Neill

The very talented Lucienne Diver sent me this to review - a book she was talking about when she visited Kepler's last month. Don't think I'll be able to read quickly enough this week.

Lily's parents have sent her to a fancy boarding school in Chicago filled with the ultra-rich. If that wasn't bad enough, she's hearing and seeing bizarre things on St. Sophie's creepy campus. Her roommate, Scout, keeps her sane, but keeps disappearing at night. When one day Lily finds Scout running from real-life monsters, she learns the hard way that Scout is involved in a splinter group of rebel teens.

They protect Chicago from demons, vamps, and dark magic users. It's too bad Lily doesn't have powers of her own to help. At least, none that she's discovered yet...

Feel very lucky this week. Wonderful books. Many thanks to everyone who gave them to me. Now back to reading.

How was your week?

Saturday, November 21, 2009

NBA in Young People's Literature Winner Announced

The National Book Award for Young People's Literature was given Wednesday night to Phillip Hoose, for Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice, a true-life account of the 15-year-old African-American girl who refused to give up her seat on a segregated bus in March 1955, nine months before Rosa Parks. Hoose walked to the podium with Colvin, and in accepting his medal, called the honor "unreal."

Congratulations to Phillip Hoose. Haven't read it yet - have any of you? (I was rooting for Lips Touch.)

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Maze Runner by James Dashner - Review

What do you do if you wake up in a metal box and can’t remember anything except your name? Scream! That’s exactly what Thomas does until the roof of the box is opened by a group of boys (yes, all boys) and all he hears is, "Welcome to the Glade."

And what on earth is the Glade? It’s a prison and that box brings a new boy every month. Their memories are wiped, they have no idea who they are, why they are there, and what to do. But they’ve formed a community, work hard to keep themselves alive, and try to find a way out. They are put in teams, each with different responsibilities. And each boy tries out all the teams to see where he best fits in. But Thomas feels drawn to the Maze Runners – he doesn’t know why. He thinks he can find a way out, can discover the secret to the Glade. Then he’s told the Maze changes every day, that no one has ever survived spending a night in the Maze, and that the creatures that come out at night to hunt are fierce, half robot, terrifying.

But just as Thomas starts to adjust to his new surroundings things change again. The box arrives too soon after his arrival and this time it brings a girl. And in her hand is a note. They know they have to escape. The questions is: will they trust Thomas to help them run the Maze?

A scary page-turning adventure, this is a must read for all those adrenaline junkies out there. A twist on every page, right to the very end, I can’t wait for the sequel.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

-Grab your current read.

-Open to a random page.

-Share two “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page.

-BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)

-Share the title & author, too, so that other participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

And this week I'm reading Beautiful Creatures (and how I love it!) by Kami Garcia and Maqrgaret Stohl.

And here's the teaser from page 216 (arc)

"I get it. You're scared. But we'll figure something out. We're supposed to be together."
"We're not. You're a Mortal. You can't understand. I don't want to see you get hurt, and that's what will happen if you get close to me."
"Too late."
I'd heard every word she'd said, but I only knew one thing:
I was all in.

It is SO good.

Monday, November 16, 2009

In My Mailbox

Again with thanks to the very creative Kristi aka Story Siren and Alea of Pop Culture Junkie, the blogs where this meme started, here are the books I acquired this week.

1. The Body Finder by Kimberley Derting

"A serial killer on the loose. A girl with a morbid ability. And the boy who would never let anything happen to her. Violet Ambrose can find the dead. Or at least, those who have been murdered. She can sense the echoes they leave behind... and the imprints they leave on their killers. As if that weren't enough to deal with during junior year, she also has a sudden, inexplicable, and consuming crush on her best friend since childhood, Jay Heaton. Now a serial killer has begun terrorizing Violet's small town... and she realizes she might be the only person who can stop him."

2. My So-Called Death by Stacey Jay

"One second, sophomore Karen Vera's on top of the most fabulous cheer pyramid ever. The next, she's lying on the pavement with seriously unflattering cranial damage. Freakishly alive without a pulse, Karen learns that she's a genetically undead zombie. Soon, Karen is sent off to DEAD High, a boarding school for the "death-challenged," and her non-life is suddenly an epic disaster. She's stuck with a greasy-haired, wannabe-Goth roommate who hates her guts. She's chowing down on animal brains every day to prevent rot. Even worse, someone is attacking students and harvesting their brains for a dark ritual . . . and it might be the hottest guy at DEAD High, the one who makes Karen's non-beating heart flutter! As more brains are stolen—including her best friend's—Karen tracks down the brain snatcher to save her fellow students from certain zombie death."

3. Goth Girl Rising by Barry Lyga

"After six months in the Maryland Mental Health Unit, Kyra Sellers, a.k.a. Goth Girl, is going home. Unfortunately, she's about to find out that while she was away, she lost track of more than time. Kyra is back in black, feeling good, and ready to make up with the only person who's ever appreciated her for who she really is. But then she sees him. Fanboy. Transcended from everything he was into someone she barely recognizes. And the anger and memories come rushing back. There's so much to do to people when you're angry. Kyra's about to get very busy."

They sound great. Once I finish Beautiful Creatures (which I can't say enough good things about), I think I'm heading straight to The Body Finder.

So what was in your mailbox this week?

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Eoin Colfer (yes, again)

Anyone who has read any of my recent posts knows how enamored I am with Eoin Colfer and how I thought him to be charming, entertaining, and downright adorable.

Our very talented videographer, John Ray, just sent me this video and, of course, I want to share it with you. It's Eoin talking about And Another Thing, the difficulties of continuing The Hitchhikers Guide series, and the response from Douglas Adams' fans.

Fantastic, don't you think?

Friday, November 13, 2009

Secret Society by Tom Dolby - Review

Here's Antonia's review of Secret Society by Tom Dolby. I haven't read it yet - it's on my TBR pile - but I do admire the cover!

Lauren and Nick are the children of scions of New York high society. Phoebe is not. But these three teens have one thing in common and it isn't money -- what they have is potential. Each of them receives a mysterious invitation to a "gathering" at midnight in the meatpacking district. They are cautioned not to be late. They have no idea what this is about, but intrigued, they respond to the summons.

They are given a choice, join the society and receive their hearts desire, or leave now. Not a difficult decision, but they aren't given the full story, they don't know what they will be asked to sacrifice as members of the society, and they certainly don't know what the society has to do with the body that was discovered recently in Central Park -- the body of a young man with a strange tattoo on the back of his neck.

This gripping thriller is a fantastic read into the dark side of privilege, I read it cover to cover before I looked up and realized it was 3 a.m.

As I said above, reviewed by Antonia

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Don't miss Courtney Sheinmel tonight

Just to remind you that Courtney Sheinmel will be at Kepler's tonight at 6.30 with singing sensation, Jessarae. Courtney is one of the nicest authors you will meet so don't miss this opportunity to hear her talk about her newest book, Positively.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Firelight - a Twilight parody

Did you see this? A Twilight parody with Taylor Swift on Saturday Night Live. Hilarious!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Trailer Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

-Grab your current read.

-Open to a random page.

-Share two “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page.

-BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)

-Share the title & author, too, so that other participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

And this week I'm reading Fallen by Lauren Kate.

And here's my teaser:

"I could swear we've met before," she said. "Am I crazy?"

"Crazy? Isn't that why you're here?" he said, brushing her off.

"I'm serious."

"So am I." Daniel's face was blank. "And for the record" - he pointed up at the blinking device attached to the ceiling - "the reds do monitor for stalkers."

Have I tempted you with that teaser?

Monday, November 9, 2009

Publishers Weekly Best Children's/YA Fiction for 2009

Did you read that Publishers Weekly just announced their list of best children's/Ya fiction for 2009? How many have you read from this list and what would you add/delete?

Laurie Halse Anderson

Going Bovine
Libba Bray

Kristin Cashore

Catching Fire
Suzanne Collins

If I Stay
Gayle Forman

The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate
Jacqueline Kelly

Purple Heart
Patricia McCormick

The Ask and the Answer
Patrick Ness

A Season of Gifts
Richard Peck

When You Reach Me
Rebecca Stead

Maggie Stiefvater

Marcelo in the Real World
Francisco X. Stork

Tales from Outer Suburbia
Shaun Tan

Lips Touch: Three Times
Laini Taylor, illus. by Jim Di Bartolo

The Uninvited
Tim Wynne-Jones

I would have added Hush, Hush. Of course I would. And Dust of 100 Dogs. But I haven't read them all so can't suggest which to switch...

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Eoin Colfer

Well, I talked and talked about Eoin Colfer before he arrived at Kepler's but I was still blown away when he visited us last week to talk about And Another Thing...He's charming, a wonderful storyteller, and so very, very funny. I'm smitten, I admit it! One of the very best author presentations I've had the good fortune to attend - like going to a very good comedy club - and I just want to say that you should make the time to go and hear him wherever and whenever he talks. He's that amusing.

So Don’t Panic - but Arthur Dent is hitchhiking through the galaxy again. Eoin Colfer has written a 6th novel in the ever-more increasingly inaccurately named Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy trilogy on the 30th anniversary of publication of the first book in the late, great Douglas Adams’ phenomenally successful series. It was one of the funniest books ever published.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, triggered by the destruction of Earth to make way for a hyperspace expressway, has 15 million copies in print, has been heard on radio, seen on TV, enjoyed on the big screen, adapted for the stage, spawned several computer games, - there was even a musical version. And it has many many fans.

And now, in an effort to achieve enlightenment through the pursuit of towels, liberty, and a nice cup of tea, Eoin Colfer explained how be has brought the eternal pessimist Arthur Dent, his alien best friend Ford Prefect, and everyone’s favorite renegade Galactic President Zaphod Beelbebrox back for another adventure along with a pantheon of unemployed gods, a lovestruck green alien, an irritating computer, and at least one very large slab of cheese.

Eoin told us how The Hitchhikers Guide sat on his Golden Shelf - along with his Kate Bush and Pink Floyd LPs - his favorite things from his teenage life along with the first Highlander film. And how the series made him realize science fiction did not have to be serious. Here was an author who managed to write fantastic books that were also funny - very funny - full of one liners and witty parody. They were unlike anything else.

Eoin talked about how excited and nervous he was when asked to write this 6th edition of the series (and how he initially said no because he didn't think it should be done). He talked about the fans (and facebook groups) who wrote to say how he really shouldn't be attempting to write it. But Douglas Adams' widow was a fan of his work and thought he could introduce the series to a younger audience. Apparently Douglas did leave notes but Eoin didn't use them because he wanted it to be HIS book. So he picked his favorite characters and then did something controversial with one of them (OK, yes I'll tell you, it's Zaphod).

Here he is talking about And Another Thing...:

And here, Eoin talks about Artemis Fowl:

Finally, I must talk about his chair. The egg chair (see photo) is being shipped from book shop to book shop on this tour. It's gorgeous, with cow cushions and magificent Hitchhiker art on the back. Eoin explained all that is significant about the chair and happily swirled around on it for enthusiastic fans.

But for all those fans who unhappily missed Eoin this time for whatever reason, we did video the entire presentation and I'll let you know as soon as it's posted.

And, for the record, And Another Thing is very funny. It keeps the spirit of Adams' work but is very much Colfer's. I'd recommend it to anyone.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Ballad: A Gathering of Faerie by Maggie Stiefvater - Review

I loved Lament and thus was eagerly awaiting the publication of the sequel, Ballad. And make no mistake; it is every bit as wonderful as Lament.

Do you remember James, Dee's talented musician friend? Of course you do - funny, quirky, in love with Dee - he was my favorite character in Lament. Ballad focuses on James as he follows Dee to a private conservatory for gifted musicians. It's not really a good choice for him as he's a piper and they have no real program for him but he wants to be near Dee, even though she doesn't reciprocate his feelings and doesn't have much to do with him once they get to school. She's still mourning Luke, seems changed, and despite the new setting, still sees the Fae.

Despite making new friends James is lonely, sad, and ultimately catches the attention of a faerie muse called Nuala who mentors and brings out the best in artists while feeding on their creativity, until they burn out and die. But this is James - charming and handsome, clever, funny but complicated, - and Nuala begins to fall in love with him as they compose music together. Did I mention that James hears songs of the dead at night and that Nuala ultimately has to decide where her allegiances lie?

When I say that I liked Ballad even more than Lament, can you now see why? James and Nuala both tell the story in alternating chapters - with a few text messages from Dee sprinkled here and there. I couldn't read quickly enough this beautifully written story of unrequited love, doomed romance, heartless Fae, and gorgeous music. Maggie is a wonderful writer and yes, I admit, I'm a fan. There's a haunting lyricism to her writing that just sucks me into the narrative and leaves me asking for just one more glimpse into this wonderful world she's created. Please.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


I am so excited! Here's what Maggie Stiefvater (author of Lament, Ballad, and Shiver) - one of my very favorite YA authors - posted for her Teaser Tuesday on her live journal (click here to see for yourself). A copy of the cover of Linger (sequel to Shiver) and the first paragraph!

• Grace •

This is the story of a boy who used to be a wolf and a girl who was becoming one.

Just a few months ago, it was Sam who was the mythical creature. His was the disease we couldn’t cure. His was the good-bye that meant the most. He had the body that was a mystery, too strange and wonderful and terrifying to comprehend.

But now it is spring. With the heat, the remaining wolves will soon be falling out of their wolf pelts and back into their human bodies. Sam stays Sam, and Cole stays Cole, and it’s only me who’s not firmly in my own skin.

I just can't wait! Thanks Maggie.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Swim the Fly by Don Calame - Review

Three friends, Matt, Sean, and Coop, have a tradition. Every summer since they were about eight they’ve set themselves a goal. Like building a clubhouse out of old boxes or playing a thousand ping pong games. This summer Coop decides that their goal should be to try to see a naked girl – in person.

And just to make life a little more complicated, Matt volunteers to swim the 100-yard butterfly to impress Kelly, the newest girl on their swim team. Oh – did I mention that Matt is not one of the better swimmers on the team and that he actually can’t even manage to swim one lap of butterfly? But he has all summer to practice – right? How hard can it be? Especially as he finds a new swim instructor who has a very unusual (sadistic) coaching style.

This is a laugh-out-loud, be-careful-where-you-read-it, kind of a book. It screams out for a movie version (Judd Apatow, can you hear me?). But I’d certainly give this a PG-13 label!